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How to Prune Clematis

By Yolanda Vanveen ; Updated September 21, 2017

To prune clematis, cut back the plant after the flowering is over to about a foot from the ground. Avoid trimming clematis more than one-third each year with tips from a sustainable gardener in this free video on gardening.


Hi, this is Yolanda Vanveen and in this segment we're going to talk about how to prune clematis, or clematis, however you want to pronounce it. It's a beautiful vine with gorgeous flowers all over it that blooms in the summertime. There are many different types of clematis, or clematis, and depending on the variety of the plant that you have, is what's going to dictate how to prune it. If you don't know which type of clematis you have, the best thing that you can do is just let it grow one season, one year, and note when it blooms. And then that way, you'll know what type of clematis you have. Okay now, clematis that blooms in the summer only, are blooming on the wood that was produced in the spring. So to get this new wood, you have to cut back after flowering in late fall or early spring, as the buds swell and cut to within six to twelve inches of the ground, or two to three buds for the first two to three years. Now if you have older plants, you cut the older plants to two feet or less. So a good rule of thumb is never cut your clematis more than one-third at one time, so can always trim it a little bit, and then a little bit more later in the season. But any way that you trim it, it is sure to grow beautiful the next year.


About the Author


Yolanda Vanveen is a third-generation flower grower and sustainable gardener who lives in Kalama, Wash. She is the owner of VanveenBulbs.com, selling flower bulbs on the Internet, at garden shows and at farmers markets in the Pacific Northwest for more than 20 years. Vanveen holds a degree in communications and international studies from Linfield College, and is a graduate of the WSU Master Gardener Program. Vanveen represented the United States at the 2006 Indigenous Bulb Society Symposium in South Africa and has been featured on the PBS show Smart Gardening, demonstrating which way is up with flower bulbs.